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Wednesday, Jun 3 2015

Religion has been used to justify countless atrocities throughout human history, and those same texts have also been used for those fighting against those injustices. Both slavers and abolitionists used the Bible to justify their stands, and Peter Cousens' mawkish Freedom is an apologia for the white Christian people who helped slaves escape, or at least wrote songs to make them feel better. The storyline alternates between 1856 — as escaped slave Samuel Woodward (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his family travel along the Underground Railroad — and 1748, as hunky slave-ship captain John Newton (Bernard Forcher) finds God and is inspired to write Amazing Grace after delivering his cargo. Being a historical piece, Freedom isn't able to demonize liberal professors, atheists, or women's health care providers like contemporary faith-based films often do, and it gets downright victim-blamey when Newton asks why a just and merciful God would enslave good people. Newton's told that there are no quote-good-unquote people, and that's why we need God, so apparently being enslaved is their problem, not His. That's faith for ya, and in that weird way that faith-based films approach morality, Freedom is rated R for violence but is bereft of swearing, saving its single N-bomb for the climax of the 1856 storyline. No need to expose the choir to naughty language, after all.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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